Exploring the quality paradigms in integrated care: the need for emergence and reflection

Journal article citation:
International Journal of Integrated Care, 21(2), 2021, p.17. Online only
International Foundation for Integrated Care

Introduction and Aim: There are four quality paradigms, of which the Empirical and Reference paradigm fit best in stable circumstances, and the Reflective and Emergence paradigms, which fit best in unstable circumstances. This study aims to explore the use of the four quality paradigms in integrated care, and to shed light on the different paradigmatic commitments and different perspectives on quality. Methods: Peer-reviewed articles from the International Journal of Integrated care published between January 2015 and December 2019 were included in this study. For each article was determined in which paradigm it belonged. Additionally, the role of the patient and domain of impact in research, policy or practice in relationship to the paradigms were investigated. Results: In total, 255 articles were assessed based on the four quality paradigms. 55 (21.6%) of the articles were placed in the Empirical paradigm, 147 (57.6%) in the Reference paradigm and 45 (17.6%) in the Reflective paradigm. The Emergence paradigm occurred the least (n = 8, 3.1%). Discussion and conclusion: Of all reviewed studies, 80% were placed in the Empirical and Reference paradigm. This raises the question if the used research approaches are consistent with the complexity and contexts in the field of integrated care and support a personalised care approach. More awareness of all four paradigms and reflection on the used epistemologies is needed. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
integrated care, person-centred care, quality improvement;
Content types:
research, research review
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